What’s in a (Domain) Name? ICANN by any other name would still…

On June 13, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) revealed the list of applications for new gTLDs to be launched as part of its proposed expansion of the top-level domain space. A total of 1,930 applications were filed for strings, including brand names, generic words and abbreviations, geographic terms, and non-ASCII strings (such as Chinese or Arabic). If this is allowed to move forward as it is currently envisaged, it will be a striking change to the domain name system, with dramatic new risks and evolving threats, as well as opportunities. Brand owners – applicants or not – need to strategize and prepare now, to protect their marks and brands. Some may also need to decide whether or not to challenge any pending applications. 

Rimon has assembled a global team of thought-leaders to counsel and guide you. Experienced lawyers who have been following and assisting for years – ever since the proposal was first announced. Rimon is now offering a teleseminar intended to cover:

  • How to develop a strategy to protect your rights – marks and brands
  • What brand owners should be thinking about now
  • Commenting on and objecting to applications
  • The Trademark Clearinghouse and other supposed protections in the new system
  • Updates on industry, governmental and regulatory efforts to provide more protection for brands and trademark owners

You can register through the link here: The gTLD Applications Have Been Revealed: What Brand Owners Must Know Going Forward.

As always, if you need legal or regulatory counsel, call me, Joseph I. (“Joe”) Rosenbaum, or any of the lawyers highlighted in the full Client Alert or, of course, the Rimon lawyer with whom you regularly work.

Taxing Storm Clouds Gather Over Utah

In June 2010, we announced the launch of an initiative focusing on Cloud Computing (‘Transcending the Cloud’ – Rimon Announces White Paper Series & Legal Initiative on Cloud Computing), showcased with a series of individual and topical white papers, in time being compiled into a comprehensive work entitled, “Transcending the Cloud: A Legal Guide to the Risks and Rewards of Cloud Computing.” One of the first in our series was a paper on the state tax implications of cloud computing, entitled: “Pennies From Heaven”

Just as clouds have different shapes, sizes and shades of gray, different states are approaching taxation of cloud transactions differently. Well now, our State Tax practice reports that taxing storm clouds are gathering over Utah. In a marked about-face from the state’s previously issued guidance, the Utah Sales Tax Commission has ruled that web services that charge a fee constitute sale of a service, subject to sales tax. The implication being that mere access of or to an application is enough to subject the provider to a tax liability.

Notable for cloud computing providers, even though the product at issue was access to remotely hosted software that allowed users to conduct webinars "in the cloud," allowing customers to download a free device application for access to that service had the state seeing "software" (sales of which are subject to sales tax in Utah). With at least one state looking at clouds from the application side now, it will be interesting to see if other states quickly follow.

For more information about the Utah ruling, or to stay on top of the developments in the taxation cloud products and platforms, visit www.taxingtech.com. To get legal assistance and guidance from someone who really knows that state of state taxation of cloud computing, contact Kelley C. Miller directly. Of course, you can always find out more about our Cloud Computing initiative or get the assistance you need by contacting me, Joseph I. ("Joe") Rosenbaum, or the Rimon attorney with whom you regularly work.
 

When Online Games, Health & Life Sciences and Crowd Sourcing Combine

This time, the law of unintended consequences is bringing scientists and online gamers together in a crowd sourcing manner hitherto unimaginable.

An article in this month’s edition of the journal Nature Structural & Molecular Biology has announced (citing both research scientists and online gamers as co-authors of the article) that through a 2008 purpose-oriented video game developed at the University of Washington in 2008 – Foldit – the structure of an enzyme, one used in complicated customizing of retroviruses, was accurately modeled. 

Who cares and how does this affect us? Well, as a former biochemist wannabe, if you can model the structure of these proteins, you can better understand how diseases are caused and correspondingly develop drugs to block or stymie the progress of those diseases.

Amazingly, gamers were able to produce an accurate model of an enzyme whose structure had eluded scientists for a very long time in only three weeks and the report notes, referring specifically to medication against the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) for which an understanding and design of antiretroviral drugs is absolutely critical. Seth Cooper, one of the creators of Foldit noted that "Games provide a framework for bringing together the strengths of computers and humans. The results in this week’s paper show that gaming, science and computation can be combined to make advances that were not possible before."

If you thought the intellectual property, licensing, user generated content, crowd sourcing, cloud sourcing, social media legal issues were already enough arising from scientific research, online gaming and crowd sourcing alone were enough to make your head spin, conjure up the implications when the term ‘convergence’ is applied to any two or three of these disciplines. Isn’t it time you had legal counsel and representation who can seamlessly help navigate them while your teams are busy solving the health care and medical problems of the world?

If you want to know more about how lawyers who understand can help your business, feel free to contact me, Joe Rosenbaum, or any of the Rimon attorneys with whom you regularly work.

BNA Highlights Health IT Issues Raised by Rimon Attorneys

The August 29, 2011 issue of BNA’s Health IT Law & Industry Report (Vol. 3, No. 36), describes some of the major legal and contractual issues raised when health care industry companies and professionals are considering moving to a cloud computing environment. Joseph I. (“Joe”) Rosenbaum was interviewed by the author, Kendra Casey Plank, for her article, entitled, “Attorney: Cloud Services Offer Affordable Solutions but Raise Privacy, Security Risks.” The article not only quotes Rosenbaum extensively, but also refers to Rimon’s White Paper series “Transcending the Cloud: A Legal Guide to the Risks and Rewards of Cloud Computing,” which began in June 2010 (see "Transcending the Cloud" – Rimon Announces White Paper Series & Legal Initiative on Cloud Computing). The series is updated regularly with individual articles on topics ranging from government contracting and state tax, to the most recent White Paper entitled, “Health Care in the Cloud – Think You Are Doing Fine on Cloud Nine? Hey, You! Think Again. Better Get Off of My Cloud,” which Rosenbaum and Rimon Associate Vicky G. Gormanly wrote and which was posted on the Legal Bytes blog August 5, 2001 (Transcending the Cloud – Health Care on Cloud 9? Are You Doing Fine?). What’s the state of your health care compliance? Are you doing fine?

Read the White Paper and, if you have any questions or need help, contact Joe Rosenbaum or Vicky Gormanly, or the Rimon attorney with whom you regularly work.

Transcending the Cloud – Health Care on Cloud 9? Are You Doing Fine?

If you are a music aficionado, you will remember that years ago, The Temptations sang “I’m Doing Fine on Cloud Nine.”

 

https://youtube.com/watch?v=6aiYCuOzmcs

 

If you are a health care provider paying attention to the buzz about cloud computing, you may be concerned about migrating your technology, your data and your applications to a cloud environment.  Or, let’s say you are just confused about the implications. You are not alone.

That’s precisely why our Cloud Computing initiative exists. To provide you with a guidance system – navigational tools to allow you to see sunshine, even on a cloudy day. So, as part of our ongoing commitment to keeping abreast of legal issues, concerns and considerations in the legal world of cloud computing, here, from Vicky G. Gormanly and Joseph I. Rosenbaum, is the next chapter in Rimon’s on-going series, “Transcending the Cloud: A Legal Guide to the Risks and Rewards of Cloud Computing,” entitled “Health Care in the Cloud – Think You Are Doing Fine on Cloud Nine? Hey, You! Think Again. Better Get Off of My Cloud.” This white paper examines the considerations and concerns that arise for the health care industry and the industry’s associated suppliers, vendors and providers in the wake of complex and evolving regulation and scrutiny – most notably, in the privacy and data protection of medical information – of electronic health records.

As we do each time, we have also updated the entire work, so that in addition to the single ‘Health Care in the Cloud’ white paper, you can access and download a PDF of the entire “Transcending the Cloud: A Legal Guide to the Risks and Rewards of Cloud Computing” compendium, up to date and including all the previous chapters in one document.  After reading the article, instead of doing fine, you just may want to take the advice of The Rolling Stones and “Get Off of My Cloud” until you consult your legal advisors.

 

 

Of course, feel free to contact Vicky Gormanly or Joe Rosenbaum directly if you have any questions or require legal counsel or assistance related to this white paper. Make sure you subscribe via email or get the Legal Bytes RSS feed so you are always in touch with our latest information. Of course, if you ever have questions, you can always contact any Rimon attorney with whom you regularly work.

ANA Voices Opposition to ICANN’s Proposed New gTLD Program

If you have been reading LegalBytes, you already know that the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) approved a plan to allow the proliferation of new generic top-level Internet domain names (Nightmare on Brand Street: ICANN Adopts Unlimited gTLDs). We hope you also know that a brief, executive-level presentation was made available entitled "The New gTLDs: What Does It Mean for Brand Owners?" that you can still download from "ICANN. You Can. We All Can: Own Your Own gTLD, Of Course!"

Well since then, all has not been quiet on the Western, Eastern, Northern or Southern Fronts, and today, in a letter to ICANN, the Association of National Advertisers ("ANA") detailed major flaws in the proposed ICANN program. You can read the ANA press release, as well as comments regarding ICANN’s administration of the root server system for the Internet that the ANA filed with the National Telecommunications & Information Administration (U.S. Department of Commerce).

Full disclosure: Rimon is representing the ANA in this initiative, with the support of other associations and organizations, to put ICANN on notice that the program will be economically disastrous and is unjustified by reports and experts relied upon by ICANN. The starting point for inquiring minds is the simple question: What problem or concern is this new program intended to address? The next question might be: At US$185,000 per application, plus additional annual fees, hosting or domain administration costs; dispute resolution expenses; and the added staff and monitoring (not to mention that companies will not simply abandon their existing domains (e.g., the dot com world); how can the Department of Commerce explain to small- to medium-sized businesses or start-up and emerging-growth companies that this additional cost is well worth it?

If you ask me, there is no shortage of questions, but an apparent paucity of answers. While there may be an emerging chorus of opposition, companies are already being forced to spend money hiring consultants, conducting analyses, commissioning internal task forces—all to study the impact, and determine if they should fight, apply or pursue any number of alternatives, in response to a program of questionable need and more questionable value. But then, that’s just my humble and slightly biased opinion.

So if you are stimulated to act or just to ask, you can contact any member of Rimon’s TLD Task Force: Doug Wood at +1 212-549-0377 or dwood@rimonlaw.com; Judy Harris at +1 202 414 9276 or jharris@rimonlaw.com; John Hines at +1 312 207 3876 or jhines@rimonlaw.com; Alex Klett (Germany) at +49 89 20304 179 or aklett@rimonlaw.com; Amy Mushahwar at +1 202 414 9295 or amushahwar@rimonlaw.com; Brad Newberg at +1 703 641 4272 or bnewberg@rimonlaw.com; Bo Phillips at +1 213 457 8311 or rphillips@rimonlaw.com; or Joe Rosenbaum at +1 212 702 1303 or joseph.rosenbaum@rimonlaw.com

The State of Cloud Computing Can Be Taxing – Want to Understand Why?

Back in June 2010 – more than a year ago – we announced the launch of a new Rimon initiative focusing on Cloud Computing (see ‘Transcending the Cloud’ – Rimon Announces White Paper Series & Legal Initiative on Cloud Computing),showcased with a series of individual and topical white papers, in time being compiled into a comprehensive work entitled, “Transcending the Cloud: A Legal Guide to the Risks and Rewards of Cloud Computing.” As most of you know, this brave new world, with new providers, new economic models, new access plans, and broadened capabilities, has grown, and over the past year we have released nine individual white papers, with more on the horizon and updates to existing papers as the legal and technology environments evolve. One of the first in our series was a paper on the state tax implications of cloud computing entitled: “Pennies From Heaven.”

Just letting you know our State Tax Practice is hosting a Rimon teleseminar on recent developments in state taxation on the subject, and you can view the invitation and sign up through the registration link on the invitation. Just head to: “Clouds, Codes and Crunching Numbers: An Update on Current State Multi-State Tax Development and Trends in the Taxation of Electronic Goods and Services” and sign up today!

Of course, make sure you subscribe via email or get the Legal Bytes RSS Feed so you are always in touch with our latest information; and if you have any questions about our Cloud Computing initiative or need help, feel free to contact me, Joe Rosenbaum, or the Rimon attorney with whom you regularly work. We are happy to help.

Let’s be Frank! Actually, Let’s Be Dodd-Frank. Can You Hear Me Now?

Financial institutions need to worry about Dodd-Frank (the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act). After all, “Wall Street,” “Reform” and “Consumer Protection” don’t exactly conjure up images of phone, gas and electric lines being inspected and regulated by auditors wearing suits and carrying briefcases.

If you have been a loyal Legal Bytes reader, you probably know the next line:

Well guess what?

A section of the Dodd-Frank Act amended a section of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (the “FCRA”). The amendment, which becomes effective today, July 21, 2011, requires that anyone who issues a risk-based pricing notice to a consumer (a notice required when a credit report and credit score are used in connection with the extension of credit to a consumer) must now include the applicant’s credit score directly in or with the notice. So when a company sends you a notice under the FCRA in order to comply with the requirements of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (“ECOA”), it needs to tell consumers it has used a credit report, “a record of your credit history” and “information about whether you pay your bills on time and how much you owe creditors.”

Public utilities, telecommunications companies and many others use credit scoring models, and even though these may not be based on your general credit history, the FTC is now taking the position that these companies are subject to the provisions of Dodd-Frank, and credit scores must be disclosed to the consumer.

Hey, don’t take my word for it. Read the entire Rimon Client Alert [PDF] authored by our experts: Roberta G. Torian in Philadelphia, Robert M. Jaworski in Princeton and Mark F. Oesterle in Washington, D.C. Then you will see how really complicated it is and can call them for help.

Of course, you can always contact me or the Rimon attorney with whom you regularly work, if you have any questions or require legal counsel or assistance.

ICANN. You Can. We All Can: Own Your Own gTLD, Of Course!

A few days ago, Legal Bytes announced that the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) approved a plan to allow virtually unlimited new top level Internet domain names – each is referred to as a gTLD (Nightmare on Brand Street: ICANN Adopts Unlimited gTLDs).

In response to numerous questions and requests for more information, here is some additional material for your consideration.

First, you can download a copy of the current gTLD Applicant Guidebook.

Second, you can read or download a copy of a brief, executive-level presentation entitled, “The New gTLDs: What Does It Mean for Brand Owners?” describing the changes, the implications and some additional information that may be relevant to brand owners in evaluating the implications of the new scheme.

As always, if you have further questions, you can contact me directly or any member of our gTLD team: Douglas J. Wood, John L. Hines, Joseph I. RosenbaumCynthia O’Donoghue, Dr. Alexander R. Klett, LL.M., Steven J. Birt and Brad R. Newberg.

Payment Card Industry Takes a Swipe at Virtual Security

Someone in the payment instrument, payment processing, or payment systems environment must be living under a rock if he or she has not heard of or been affected by the Data Security Standards (DSS), or “PCI-DSS” as it has been referred to in the industry, promulgated and released by the Security Standards Council of the Payment Card Industry Association (PCI). Although the original impetus for the credit-card-driven security standards was combating identity theft and credit card fraud in the wake of the data breaches and compromised (or potentially compromised) databases containing sensitive consumer payment account information, the standards have become the de facto starting point for any compliance security standard in the payment industry.

Last week, the PCI Security Standards Council released new comprehensive guidelines for PCI compliance in virtual card holder data environments dealing with consumer payment system and payment transaction security in a virtual environment. Rimon lawyers who work in this area consistently and who have a wealth of experience with information security and financial services, have put together a client alert entitled: "Is the PCI Security Standards Counsel Preparing for Cloudy Weather?"

Credit, debit and prepaid cards; smart cards and chip cards; gift cards and stored value cards; co-branded cards and loyalty rewards programs; corporate cards, fleet cards and purchasing cards; data protection and privacy; information security, identity theft and data breaches; micro, digital and virtual payment systems – E Commerce; The Fair Credit Reporting Act; Regulation E; Regulation Z; Credit Card Act of 2009 (see Credit Card Act of 2009: Act I, Scene 1 or just search the Legal Bytes blog)! Do any of these terms apply to you? Talk to us. It’s what we do. Contact any of the lawyers listed in the Alert, contact me, or contact the lawyer at Rimon with whom you routinely work, and we will make sure we help you or connect you to someone at Rimon who will be happy to do so.